We return to John Hammond’s place to continue our conversation that was recorded in SLN #37. In this podcast he discusses some of his favorite guitars and why. He shares great stories of the Greenwich Village scene he was so much a part of in the 60s and the shift to electric music that he helped bring about. We continue his tales of touring and recording which continue through today.
Professionally it probably started for John at The Newport Folk Festival 1963. He left there with a manager and a recording contract.
A photograph of Blind Boy Fuller inspired John to start playing a metal bodied National Duolian
A 1930’s National Duolian. A metal bodied guitar with the bridge resting on a spun aluminum cone that amplifies the vibrations of the strings. Mass production, available by mail order, relatively inexpensive and almost indestructible. They found their way into many roots musicians hands and onto their 78s.
John Hammond as a New York native was at the heart of the Greenwich Village Folk Music scene in the 60s. His stories of the musicians and clubs are fascinating. below is a shot of The Cafe Au Go Go with John’s name at the top . Could this have been the week he took Jimi James (Jimi Hendrix) there to launch his career?
2 books that cover the “Folk Scare” are : “The Face of Folk Music” photos by David Gahr, text by Robert Shelton published 1968 and “Folk City” which accompanied a major exhibition of the same name at The Museum of the City of New York. 2015.
Below the 3 photos that John discusses at my request. These were shot at the recording session for Bob Dylan’s “Bringing it all Back Home” LP in January of 1965. The first 2 are widely published. The 3rd with a seated solo John Hammond holding a Stratocaster I’ve only seen in Daniel Kramer’s book “A Year and a Day”. John Sebastian and Dylan are playing acoustic guitars . Hammond is seated behind a Wurlitzer Piano . However as John explains in SLN podcast #38 in all of the photos he is actually holding and playing the Stratocaster. Glad we cleared that up! Bonus points if you remember this is the month that CBS’s Clive Davis negotiated the purchase of Fender Musical Instruments.